Models seem to be suffering the brunt of the fashion industry’s obsession with size zero, according to a new study carried out by the Model Health Inquiry. The study indicates that as many as 40% of models may currently be suffering from some kind of eating disorder.

The report suggests that there is a growing number of women with hidden eating disorders. If this is the case, perhaps current known cases may be just the tip of the iceberg.

Dr. Adrienne Key, a psychiatrist and one of the authors, said that although anorexia is the most famous eating disorder among fashion models, bulimia is probably the most common. Dr. Key added that the problem of eating disorders among models is getting worse. Many of the models, it seems, are purging or consuming vast quantities of water to conceal their weight – a dangerous move as it can seriously deplete potassium levels.

The report is the result of an enquiry set up by the British Fashion Council under the supervision of Baroness Kingsmill. The aim was to find out how much pressure there is on models to stay very thin, and what effect this pressure might have on them.

Dr. Key estimates that about 20% to 40% of fashion models are currently experiencing an eating disorder.

What is an eating disorder?

An eating disorder is a psychological condition in which the patient develops unhealthy eating habits, such as:

— Eating too little
— Repeatedly overeating in a very short period
— Trying desperately to get rid of the food consumed – this could include purging (vomiting), overuse of laxatives or diuretics, exercising too much, or fasting

Most of us try to regulate our eating and do exercise in order to stay fit, healthy and not look overweight. However, when your eating habits consume all your thoughts and dictate how you carry out your social activities and everyday life – when it becomes an obsession – it is possible that you have an eating disorder.

What are the types of eating disorders?

Anorexia Nervosa
Bulimia Nervosa
— Binge Eating Disorder
— Eating Disorders Not Otherwise Specified (EDNOS)

Anorexia is the one most people have heard of, but bulimia is the most common eating disorder.

Written by: Christian Nordqvist
Editor: Medical News Today